How America Has Been Able To Handle Current Social Changes Since 1990
The level of civilization in a community at any given time is traditionally measured by the way in which people live and how certain actions or decisions are made or accepted. Some decisions bring a new vein of freedom while others maintain stringent regulations. Currently, social civility has taken a much global perspective a phenomenon that has led people from different geographical locations to also share social ideas. When the topic of social change in the U.S comes to mind, most individuals remember the changes ranging from the Civil War, Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Waves, as well as the role of women in the society after the First and Second World War. However, the most substantial social changes in the country arguably began in the 1990s. The U.S has always dealt with its social internal issues in regards to its own philosophy; nonetheless, soon after the 1990s and rapid growth globalization as well as the development of technology such as the internet global views have been used to rate America. Various scholars have come up with premises to explain these changes and the consequences. However, for the purpose of clarity, this manuscript will center on three ideals that are the most sensible in explaining how the U. S has survived all these changes.
The United States is considered the most diverse community in the world today. The number of races, religions, or people of different sexual orientations suppress any other nation in the world. With this in mind, it is clear that cultural conflict is imminent; however, this has been the case. For example, during the 1990s, only 12% of the public approved the legalization of Marijuana; this figure was particularly low because of the war on drugs and crime. Currently, there are states that have legalized the recreational use of the drug. From such an example there seems to be a conflict between the society’s comprehension of criminality and marijuana consumption. As explained by Coleman and Bourdieu (2016), in-depth study of information and the dispensation of such material helps clear myths allowing the community to have an easier transition accepting social changes.
The Invention Theory.
Culture is a system, which goes through constant change; either loses or gains in components. The general culture in the U.S in the 1990s was conservative, for example, as indicated in Coser’s, (1991), study a Gallup poll conducted on same-sex marriage in 1990 showed that 68% opposed the idea; additionally, only 48% approved the interracial marriage. The same polls were conducted in 2016 by Coleman and Bourdieu (2016), and the result showed 86% of Americans approve interracial marriage while at least 55% are supportive of same-sex marriage. According to Foner (2013), the reason why the U.S adopted such a liberal idea with ease is because of the development of new ideas and social patterns. After 1990, social change became a phenomenon influenced by global views. As more ideas from different cultures were shared and as more people who may have lacked an audience get a platform to express themselves, it is natural for a community or a society to develop altered perspectives. The U.S is made up of people from different races, religions, as well as other social backgrounds it became easier to share ideas handling such massive social change.
The Discovery Theory
In some instance, new inventions, help a community adapt to new social structures particularly when most individuals can find answers to their queries at their convenience a phenomenon that is the hallmark of new technology. One aspect of social order is that it has not final structure because as more information is made public people are allowed to make better judgments. Since 1990, the greatest change that has been experienced not only in America but the entire world is the development and the wide use of technology. In the 1990s, the world witnessed an increase in the use of computer technology globally which in turn led to a change in how and where people communicate. As indicated by Hamblin, Jacobsen, and Miller (2013), in 1995 it was easier making international calls and emails; however, in by 2000 social media altered the entire landscape of global communication. The type of communication that is supported by social media such as tweeter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Skype is revolutionary particularly when it comes to global sharing.
Figure 1. Percentage of U.S. population with a social media profile from 2008 to 2019
The graph above highlight the percentage of the US population with a social media profile from 2008 to 2019. Most recent studies show that 79 percent of U.S. citizens are connected to others online. As indicated by McQuail (2007) social media has help like-minded individuals in the country to form communities that are supportive thus increasing the chances of developing new and more liberal social structures
The Diffusion Theory
One of the ways a society can adapt to new changes be it political or social is by spreading ideas as well as objectives from different societies. The Diffusion theory is a derivative of Marxism. As narrated by Cohen (2000), Max Weber’s premise was based in the changes in Idealistic factors in a community such as values, beliefs, and ideologies. These factors have the ability to shape a community’s social structure in the modern world for instance freedom and self-determination as well as material growth and security. As explained by Cohen (2000), Nationalism and Capitalism are all results of diffusion theory the U.S has been able to diffuse different beliefs, values, and ideologies throughout the last three decades in thus giving the nation the ability to handle social changes. A good example of the diffusion theory can be seen in the nation’s political arena.
Figure 2. Exit Polls in the 2012 Presidential Elections Showing the Percentage of Voters by Race
Figure 3. Exit Polls in the 2016 Presidential Elections Showing the Percentage of Voters by Race
The two graphs show the racial resonation in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. Form the two graphs President Obama received more votes from the white race than Hillary Clinton, more other races voted for Donald Trump in 2016 than Mitt Romney in 2012. The reason behind this the sharing of ideas where a white person would vote for a black president due to policy and other races who are known to be liberals voted for a candidate who campaigned on the platform of racial discrimination.
The above theories have different ways of showing how technology, globalization, and mass communication have helped the U.S adopt to social change as well as develop social structure. As indicated by Bandura (2013), environmental factors such as global warming, demographic changes such as the age of the youth compared to adults, as well as a political and economic advantage are major players that have seen the United States adopt and develop new social structures. Currently, the U.S is one of the largest contributors of carbon emissions globally; consequently, society has been part of finding solutions. This means interactions with different people from various parts of the world and a transfer of culture.
In summary, the social structure is constantly changing all across the world. The United States, on the other hand, has gone through significant change over a short period. In the last decade, the nation saw its people turn from conservatives to liberals in majority. Same-sex marriage, cohabitation, and interracial marriages are all examples of issues that have seen a complete turnaround in perspective in the last three decades. The manuscript has used three models namely; The Invention Theory, The Discovery Theory, and The Diffusion theory in explaining how the U.S has been able to grow in the midst of major changes. The invention theory focuses on how diversity and globalization have played a major role in sharing ideas from different cultures thus developing a balanced community. The Discovery theory focuses on how technology particularly the internet and social media has been an avenue for American to express themselves thus adapting to change, and the diffusion theory focusses on how mass media has been a tool that has helped changed people minds thus forming a more understanding community. Additionally, the manuscript underlines of other factors such as demographic changes which have also played a major role in merging the U.S and other communities thus developing a balanced society.
Bandura, A. (2013). Social cognitive theory for personal and social change by enabling media. In Entertainment-education and social change (pp. 97-118). Routledge.
Cohen, G. A. (2000). Karl Marx’s theory of history: a defence. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Coleman, J. S., & Bourdieu, P. (Eds.). (2016). Social theory for a changing society (No. 303.4 S6). New York: Westview Press.
Coser, L. A. (1991). Social conflict and the theory of social change. The American Journal of Sociology, 8(3), 197-207.
Foner, E. (2013). Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition (Vol. 1). WW Norton & Company.
Hamblin, R. L., Jacobsen, R. B., & Miller, J. L. (2013). A mathematical theory of social change. New York: Wiley.
McQuail, D. (2007). Mass communication theory: An introduction. Sage Publications, Inc.